InCoB 2020 Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Speaker Profile

Nicola Mulder

Professor, Head of the Computational Biology (CBIO) University of Cape Town
Photo of Nicola Mulder

Biographical Info

Prof Mulder heads the Computational Biology Division at the University of Cape Town, and leads
H3ABioNet, a Pan African Bioinformatics Network of 27 institutions in 16 African countries.
H3ABioNet is developing bioinformatics capacity to enable genomic data analysis on the continent
by developing skills and computing infrastructure for data analysis. Prior to her position at UCT, she
worked for 8.5 years at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Cambridge, as a Team Leader,
responsible for the development of InterPro. At UCT her research focuses on genetic determinants
of susceptibility to disease, African genome variation, and microbial genomics and infectious
diseases from both the host and pathogen perspectives. Her group also provides bioinformatics
services for the local researchers, through which they develop visualization and analysis tools for
high-throughput biology. Her team has been involved in the development of new and improved
algorithms for the analysis of complex African genetic data as well as for downstream analysis and
interpretation of GWAS data. Prof Mulder is actively involved in training and education as well as
curriculum development in Bioinformatics and Genomic Medicine. She sits on a number of
international scientific advisory boards.

Involvement in education and training organisations
  • Member of Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training (GOBLET)
  • Co-chair of GOBLET Learning, Education and Training Committee
  • Member of EBI External Training Advisory Committee
  • Member of the Makerere University UVRI Centre of Excellence for Infection & Immunity Research and Training Scientific Advisory Board
  • Co-chair of International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) Education Committee


Global activities in Bioinformatics training and education


The increasing need for skills in bioinformatics, computational biology and data science, has resulted
in a growing community of trainers involved in training and education in these topic areas. This
community has started working closely together to build resources for trainers, develop curricula,
and pioneer novel training approaches. Global initiatives such as GOBLET and the ISCB Education
Committee and COSI, and more regional projects, such as the ELIXIR training activities in Europe and
the H3ABioNet training program in Africa have convened during two Education summits to build a
community of trainers and develop competency frameworks, best practices documents, guidelines
and endorsement processes. The talk will highlight some of these activities and outputs and then
provide specific use cases with the H3ABioNet consortium. H3ABioNet, the Pan African
bioinformatics network for H3Africa, is mandated to build human capacity in bioinformatics for a
broad list of stakeholders, from bioinformatics researchers to systems administrators, software
developers, and life science researchers. The network uses a wide range of training modalities and
implements competency-based curriculum development, standards for training material curation,
and follows best practices developed by the bioinformatics global training community. Like many
others, our training program has also had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, switching to a
more online focus. Some of these activities and adaptations will be discussed.

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